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   Chapter 13 Up and away

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 13922

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


Sunser Rozarian was dressed to perfection. His costume was an immaculate white which he had chosen to be extremely visible on the black ship. His shirt was black like the ship and his tie and shoes were yellow. He had considered a small flower for a buttonhole but decided against that as he lacked flowers in his house and was much too mean to purchase one for the occasion.

The official space agency car arrived right on time to pick him up, and he told the driver to go slow as he wanted to savour this special moment. This made that he arrived at the harbour later than planned; a small crowd had already gathered for the special day and Sunser had to push his way through the throng which had an adverse effect on his suit. Unfortunately there was nothing he could do about that.

Two cameras had been installed already and their operators had a field day taking in the ship, the harbour and specific appealing ladies that were among the spectators. At last, when Sunser strode to the ship and the platform, the cameras noticed him and focussed on the white suit. A bald man in grey clothes ran up to him to hand him a small microphone so his words would be heard across the entire harbour.

"Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this extraordinary event which gives me great personal pleasure to present, " Sunser said. He had rehearsed his speech until late in the evening.

From the deck, Barthomeu and Zopierama looked down and listened to the man who rambled on about some great advance in knowledge, personal commitment and other things that did not seem to make any sense, but the audience apparently loved it. Finally the moment of truth, as Sunser dramatically called it, had arrived. He stepped on the platform, managing to make that look impressive. He was carried up to the deck and hopped on board.

"How do you like it so far?" he asked the couple.

"I think you talk an awful lot, " Zopierama commented.

Sunser made a strange, fast movement and coughed, but to his relief the microphone was off. In an exaggerated move he switched it on again and announced that everyone should step back (which was nonsensical because everyone was already close to the harbour fence) for the ship's lines would be loosened for the final test flight. A synchronised, almost orchestrated oooohhhhhh rose up from the audience. The robotic arms rose up and lifted the heavy ropes from bow and stern.

Barthomeu climbed up the stairs to the bridge of the ship and disappeared inside, as they had agreed upon. Zopierama remained on deck but kept a safe distance from the man that they didn't trust any more. On the bridge Barthomeu activated the systems, powered up the engines and waited until all signals showed safe running. He then stepped out and waved at Zopie for a moment to signal that the ship was ready to leave. And for longer than everyone anticipated.

Sunser announced that the moment was there, that the ship would now rise up. An even more orchestrated aaaahhhh rose up from below. He wondered who had arranged that, because the effect was sublime.

Barthomeu heard the crowd too as he had left the door to the bridge open. He worked the buttons of the console and slowly the black ship rose up from the water. As there was hardly any wind the bystanders were not treated to a wet farewell. The ship rose and Sunser kept talking, giving a detailed account of what he saw as the harbour and the crowd grew smaller.

The ship rose faster and faster until it was three miles over the surface, where Barthomeu brought it to a halt. "I think that went well, " he said as he came down the stairs. "We now have a few small surprises for you, Sunser."

"You do?" In his amazement Sunser forgot to switch off the microphone.

The former geeky man turned and yelled out Carmolo's name. Carmolo Wertigo, staff corporal and former NAD, stepped onto the deck. "He's the first one."

Sunser dropped the microphone. "Who is that? This man is not supposed to be here. I demand that you take us down so he can be properly arrested."

"I did mention we have a few surprises, Sunser. The second one is that he is coming with us."

It took a few moment

thomeu stared at his girlfriend and the staff corporal. "Did we just save people?"

"Here, give us a hand will ya?" the voice from the space-can asked. As they looked again a large sack was held up.

Almost automatically Carmolo reached for it and pulled the thing aboard. "Ooomph, that's heavy, " he informed the other two. Bag after box came from the space-thing. Then the body that was attached to the black haired head appeared. Long, skinny and-

"Barthomeu!" Zopierama held a hand over her mouth as the thin man stood in front of them, and pointed with the other hand at the man's clothing. "He wears a skirt!"

"Vinnie! Wa're weetin' man!" a voice exclaimed. It definitely belonged to a woman.

The skinny man leaned over the side and reached. The three others only leaned over the side to see how he pulled a tall skinny woman from the can, wearing a similar outfit as the man did, be it that her skirt was a bit longer and instead of what looked like a long stretch of red fabric around the upper body she wore something that resembled a cardigan that left her arms bare. Her hair was long and almost orange, and had not seen water and soap in far too long. More and more people were pulled from the tin can until a total of six stood on the deck, together with a pile of things that mocked the idea that it all had come from the space-can. The five men and one woman would already have an impossible time trying to get in there, and yet they and their stuff had all been inside it.

"Well, here wa are!" the man that had been called Vinnie said, showing a big grin.

"And who are 'we'?" Carmolo asked. He had once heard about interrogation techniques and this was a good time to put them in practice.

"Wa're tha' Harmony Clan, " Vinnie said, throwing an excess of 'ah' sounds in his speech.

"Wa're tha?" Zopierama pronounced the words. "What does that mean?"

The six rather grubby looking people conferred among each other in a language that sounded guttural, unpolished and permeated with ah's and spitting sounds. Then one of the men looked very concentrated as he said: "Tha' means 'we are the'." Each word came out slowly but amazingly understandable. "Ba' 'scuse us, ya're tha' people tha' talk funny."

The three then introduced themselves to the strange group, and did not tell too much how they had acquired the black ship.

"Perhaps you people would like to put your belongings somewhere safe, " Barthomeu then suggested. "We have plenty of cabins for you, and you can clean yourself up there as well."

Ninnie, the only woman in the odd group, thanked him for that. For a moment it looked as if she wanted to actually hug Barthomeu but it was probably the slightly frightened way he looked up at her that made her decide otherwise.

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